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120 Responses

  1. Paige says:

    Thank you Michael. I’ve only looked at two links so far….
    Our chiropractor is Korean. He and his wife are devout Christians…. and they do tear up when speaking of ‘the missionary who brought Jesus to Korea”….

    I guess I am pretty much an evangelical ‘reject’…. Jesus seems so much more vast and real, present and powerful to me now……

    More later… Thanks for the links.

  2. Xenia says:

    RC Cardinal Kasper opined:

    “the only seriously debated theological issue between us and the Orthodox Church… is the question of Roman primacy.”

    ^^^ This is what Catholics always like to say and it is completely erroneous. They (and certain liberal Orthodox) like to imagine that our differences are only administrative in nature and that the theology is identical. No. After the schism (and even centuries before) the Orthodox East and the Latin West began to diverge in doctrine and in practice.

    Some things we disagree on:

    1. The Immaculate Conception of Mary. This RC doctrine is possible because of the RC view of original sin which is different from the EO view.

    2. Purgatory.

    3. Dividing every thing up into categories, like venial and mortal sins, holy days of obligations, etc etc etc. Bean counting.

    4. The Orthodox view of the Holy Trinity regarding the procession of the Holy Spirit.

    5. An Orthodox rigor in keeping the fasts, going to confession, etc vs RC laxity

    6. Orthodox monasticism is the bastion of EO conservatism whereas RC monasticism is often a hotbed of liberalism.

    7. In practice, Orthodoxy is extremely conservative. We have no equivalent of Vatican 2, which was a liturgical disaster.

    8. The Orthodox belief in hesychasm, to complicated to explain here.


    So it’s more than the Orthodox not wanting to follow the Pope, it’s a whole different culture. But the Catholics would like everyone to believe that the differences are trivial.

  3. Michael says:


    I had to go look up hesychasm… very interesting stuff.

  4. Nonnie says:

    “Eight sins that you may be an evangelical reject…”

    Michael, you through me with this, until I clicked on the link and found it is “SIGNS” not “sins.”


  5. Michael says:

    Thanks, Nonnie! 🙂

  6. Steve Wright says:

    Guys like Willems and his church (except I guess we aren’t supposed to use that word) crack me up. Half that stuff many if not most evangelicals affirm…the rest is just mostly political (not theological) liberalism…the religious left, alive and well, bagging on the religious right but doing so in the cloak of “anti-evangelicalism”


    (MIchael, you might change the link title though…signs..not sins.)

  7. Steve Wright says:

    Nonnie beat me to the punch! (pun intended)

  8. Surfer51 says:

    Concerning the Richard Roberts article.

    In The early 90’s two of my friends and I decided to go on a Sunday night to see him speak at Melodyland Christian Center across from Disneyland.

    When we arrived we saw that the large circular auditorium had been partitioned so that it no longer was a circular set up but only half of a circle.

    They had cordoned off a pie slice section where the few of us who had shown up were told to sit.

    Richard had a large staff with him and was videoing for his TV program.

    At the end of his lesson he gave an “altar call’ and all of his staff members went forward from our little pie slice.

    As they were slowly walking forward the TV cams were catching it and Richard proclaims, “They are coming from all over this great auditorium, they are coming.”

    When in reality it was on a smal pie slice of the seating that his people were coming from and everywhere else the seats were completely empty.

    It was kind of shocking to hear him lie, for the sake of scripted reality that night.

    One can only wonder to what purpose?

    Was it an attempt at self promotion?

    Heaven only knows…

  9. Nonnie says:

    The Oral/ Richard Roberts saga was quite sad. Sort of a “preach the gospel, gain the world and lose your soul” story. What a tragic family story.

  10. neo says:

    The Oral and Richard Roberts article was an interesting read.

    Though I can categorically state my dad is nowhere like Oral Roberts, in fact, to me he is the antithesis of him; in this particular chapter of my life and ministry I can see patterns along the same lines of Richard and myself. Not financially but with a built in “destiny” or “niche” or all kinds of things one might call it. God knows I am not a financially wealthy man, nor do I want to be, mammon is the system- but as far as position and all….I’m just thinking about it. Very grateful for what grace has provided me, I pray that I might preach the Gospel with dignity both from the pulpit and away from the pulpit.

  11. neo says:

    …the article was on a personal level thought provoking, humbling, and cautionary.

  12. And people say wrestlng is fake. Geez, I will bet Richard Roberts and the TBN people wear more makeup than the rasslers.

    I have never figured out why ‘churched’ people go off to see some traveling speaker.

  13. neo says:

    wrote a piece on the article here:

  14. “At the end of his lesson he gave an “altar call’ and all of his staff members went forward from our little pie slice.”

    Once I realized that the counselors at Harvest Crusade were using the same coercive tactic I walked out instead of up.

  15. Greg Laurie learned the tactic from Billy Graham.

    But you know, if people have to make a decision, if they must choose Christ, well hey grease the wheels a little – it can’t hurt..

  16. Jim says:

    So glad you added “can’t miss….” to the Roberts link. I fell for it, and read the whole, sordid article.

    I’m going to take a shower or two…

  17. Jean says:

    I guess your love of other traditions expired sometime between yesterday and today. ((((clap))))

  18. Jim says:

    “predestination is conditioned on the free-will choice of man.”

    This makes no sense at all. Words have meaning.

  19. Michael says:


    Not in the least.

    I had simply forgotten how vicious Wesleys attacks on Calvinists were and the lengths to which he was willing to take the war.

    I have something to offend and edify everyone today, I think….and hopefully provided some stuff to think about.

  20. Michael says:

    Great lecture on the Wesley/Whitefield controversy…I ordered the book too.

  21. Michael says:

    Wesley also thought Montanus and Pelagias were ‘holy men”…

  22. Jim says:

    If I’m 5 out of 8, am I a reject? Never mind, I don’t care…. Just another title for those who say they hate titles.

    Trueman nails it.

  23. filbertz says:

    what if you reject Evangelicalism first? 😉

    Trueman = bulls eye.

    Bessey’s Nigerian lament is valuable in that it points out the lack of Western concern, but is a bit self-absorbed…

  24. Babylon's Dread says:

    Thanks for the arminian vine…

  25. Jean says:

    News flash – Wesley was Arminiam
    News flash – Wesley didn’t like Calvinism and he was passionate about it.

    This is the most dishonest blogging I’ve ever read on PP. Now we’re learning our history on a man through the mouth of his opponent. Very trustworthy sourcing : – (

    “I had simply forgotten how vicious Wesleys attacks on Calvinists were and the lengths to which he was willing to take the war.”

    Did Wesley’s viciousness and war include support and or actual complicity in murder or and killing of opponents like his Reformer predecessors?

    What a disgusting display of hack blogging.

  26. Joe says:

    Thanks Jean for your post. And calling a spade a spade.

  27. Michael says:


    That was a very bad mistake on your part.
    There was nothing dishonest in the least about anything here and you will apologize or you will be banned.
    I linked to articles that are quoting source material directly…either you didn’t read the links or you are willfully blind to what you read.

    Reasoned disagreement with what I write or what I link to is acceptable, even desirable.
    Spitting accusations and insults will not be tolerated for a second.

    Wesley lived in a time much different than that of the Reformers, a time of much more tolerance for religious differences.

    If you can excuse his lies and forgery by highlighting the sins of those from another time, that’s on you…but it’s going to get in the way of your pursuit of perfection.

  28. Joe says:

    Wesley’s legacy goes down as a liar and a forgerer. Astonishing!

  29. Michael says:


    Those are your words, not mine.
    I don’t measure a mans legacy by his faults alone.

    This is Wesley to his brother…

    “In one of my last [letters] I was saying that I do not feel the wrath of God abiding on me; nor can I believe it does. And yet (this is the mystery), I do not love God. I never did. Therefore I never believed, in the Christian sense of the word. Therefore I am only an honest heathen…

    And yet, to be so employed of God! And so hedged in that I can neither get forward nor backward! Surely there was never such an instance before, from the beginning of the world! If I ever have had that faith, it would not be so strange. But I never had any other evidence of the eternal or invisible world than I have now; and that is none at all, unless such as faintly shines from reason’s glimmering ray. I have no direct witness (I do not say, that I am a child of God, but) of anything invisible or eternal.”

    “And yet I dare not preach otherwise than I do, either concerning faith, or love, or justification, or perfection. And yet I find rather an increase than a decrease of zeal for the whole work of God and every part of it. I am borne along, I know not how, that I can’t stand still. I want all the world to come to what I do not know.”

  30. Michael says:

    Wesleys Methodism has a long legacy and is the predominant influence in American evangelicalism despite the founders flaws.
    It is simply a historical fact that if he truly believed in perfectionism, he himself fell far short of it.
    To look at these matters historically isn’t “disgusting’ or “hack blogging”, it’s simply noting the historical facts…just as we did with Calvin, Luther, and the persecutions of the 16th century.

  31. Alex says:

    I like that letter from Wesley to his brother, it is very honest.

  32. Joe says:

    The talks about Wesley on here have compelled me to read some his sermons on google. His sermon on grace is powerful. I liked it and seems like a pure loaf of bread to me.

  33. Alex says:

    Joe, I don’t think it’s dishonest blogging at all.

    As one with no horse in the race and not particular fondness of any of the Christian Gurus and no blind loyalty…I see the faults of each and every one…and Wesley was as flawed as Calvin or Luther or Chuck Smith or insert-your-guru here.

  34. Alex says:

    Michael actually does a great job presenting a good synopsis of the historical record and facts about the various Gurus and their doctrine/theology as well as their personal failings and successes.

    The only guy I’ve seen him pull his punches with is Calvin…b/c Michael is a Calvinist and admires that particular Guru…so it is completely understandable why Calvin is presented in a more positive light and why Calvin’s treatment and involvement in Servatus’ murder is handled more graciously than I would.

    The stuff is what it is…and Wesley had major flaws and major doubts.

  35. Michael says:


    About all we can indict Calvin for is not rising above his time…all the Reformers, Lutherans, and Catholics repressed other faiths during the magisterial Reformation as “heresy” was the same as “sedition’ in those alliances between church and state.

    Calvin has his faults…he wrote about them as much as his enemies did.
    I think Luther was damn near insane by the time he died…and Wesley as shown, has his own issues.

    None of this diminishes their legacy in my eyes.

    What it does is show that we’re all sinners saved by grace alone and not because of any inherent goodness we possess or acquire.

    The ground is level at the foot of the cross, no matter how much God uses you…

  36. Joe says:

    Alex, said

    “The only guy I’ve seen him pull his punches with is Calvin…b/c Michael is a Calvinist and admires that particular Guru…so it is completely understandable why Calvin is presented in a more positive light.

    What an excellent observation. Thanks

  37. Michael says:


    Have you read any of what we’ve written about Calvin?

  38. Alex says:

    Michael, I won’t belabor the point past this post regarding Calvin:

    Calvin was directly involved with both the System that murdered Servetus as well as being directly involved in the indictment and testimony against Servetus.

    You can no more remove Calvin from the murder of Servetus over doctrinal difference than you can remove Judas Iscariot from the murder of Jesus.

  39. Joe says:


    There is so much on this blog about Calvin. Its going to take me months to read. Darn You!

  40. Babylon's Dread says:

    Michael is pretty even handed

  41. Alex says:

    …if you consider the murder of Servetus as “cultural” and ‘in context”…then Jesus wasn’t murdered either, he was indicted by the System of his day and those who testified against him were simply doing as you say with regards to Calvin’s participation in the Servetus murder.

  42. Michael says:

    Calvin was the chief prosecution witness in a heresy trial.
    That was his job as pastor of Geneva.

    This was a completely different time and completely different political system.

    I understand it in that context while being grateful that I live in a completely different system.

  43. Alex says:

    Unfortunately, it is the classic “Good Nazi” argument to justify murder. It’s a blind spot you have, but I’ll leave it at that.

  44. Michael says:

    Jesus was innocent of the charges the civil authorities brought against him.
    Servetus wasn’t.

  45. Alex says:

    No, that is incorrect, technically Jesus was in violation of Jewish Authority given the authority by the Roman Govt.

  46. Michael says:

    We live in a world where enlightened people believe in religious freedom and the separation of church and state.

    That wasn’t the case in the 16th century.

  47. Alex says:

    Jesus claimed to be Messiah which was a heretical violation akin to Servetus violation you cite regarding heresy.

  48. Michael come on – you come unglued at Jean’s comment “What a disgusting display of hack blogging.”

    How many times have you made the same accusation of other bloggers over the years. (Lighthouse Trails and Ken Silva to mention a couple). Toughen up – he didn’t say your mother wears combat boots.

    Just consider that you inspired Jean to passionate commenting.

  49. Alex says:

    It is a solid equivalent analogy, I’ve poked at it from every known direction and it’s as logical and reasonable an analogy as there is:

    Jesus was killed for heresy (claiming he was Messiah)

    Servetus was killed for heresy.

    Two Governing Authorities of their day…two authorities claiming they had the right to the killing due to heretical teaching.

  50. Michael says:


    I have a new policy over the last few months…that being I won’t tolerate strife for strifes sake, nor personal assaults.
    If someone doesn’t like the blog, they can click off and not come back…but I’m not putting up with anything anymore.
    I’m going to keep my blood pressure down and the quality of comments up.

  51. Alex – the Romans did not kill Jesus because of heresy – they didn’t care about Jewish religion – they cared only of keeping the peace.

  52. Michael says:


    You’re half right.
    The Romans crucified Jesus for sedition, He was claiming to be a king and that threatened Roman power.
    In the 16th century heresy was considered a threat to civil order and authority and thus worthy of the death penalty.

  53. Alex says:

    MLD, correct the Jews had Jesus killed by the Romans over heresy. Doesn’t change the analogy one bit. The Jewish leaders were the authority over Jerusalem with their authority given to them by the Romans.

  54. Michael says:


    Your analogy breaks down when one compares Servetus with Christ…

  55. Alex says:

    Anyways, the Macro-Premise Michael is making is:

    Christian Gurus of all flavors (even Calvin 🙂 ) were and are very flawed.

    There has to be grace or we’re all toast.

  56. Alex says:

    “Your analogy breaks down when one compares Servetus with Christ…”

    Not if you’re a Jew who believes their theology is correct.

  57. Michael says:


    #56….is right on.

  58. Do you really believe Jean as a Wesleyan was making strife for the sake of strife and that he had no reasonable grounds to think that your selection of articles was bias? I think his complaint was that you were allowing the enemies of Wesley define who Wesley was.

    But hey, you know what they used to say about debating with the editorial staffs at newspapers – “don’t argue with people who buy their ink by the barrels.”

  59. Alex says:

    …and that’s my beef with the “heresy” laws that Calvin supported and participated in….way too subjective…yet they murdered a man over a difference of doctrinal opinion.

    In the case of Jesus, Christians would claim the Jews were wrong and that Jesus is the Messiah and innocent, from the Jewish perspective, they would assert Jesus was not the Messiah and was teaching and preaching heresy which threatened their God-given and Roman-given authority.

  60. Michael says:


    When Jean calls me dishonest and a hack he’s toast.
    The articles I cited quote Wesley…as well as his enemies.

  61. Alex – no they weren’t, otherwise they would have just stoned Jesus. In the end Jesus was killed because he caused too much trouble in downtown Jerusalem. His civil disturbance worked into God’s perfect plan.

  62. Alex says:

    I agree with Michael’s Point very much.

    I don’t want to continue to argue the Calvin issue, I think Michael agrees he, too, was flawed…and I don’t require agreement on the Servetus issue…I think I stated my case about as well as I could in short blog snippets and THAT is the last comment on it 🙂

    Michael, your point is well made. If there is any truth to the Gospel of Grace…and my hope that there is (though more in a Universal sense)…we’ll all need a big portion to bypass a hell if there is one.

  63. I have seen Luther “quoted” also by his enemies… not always in context. You need to do a better job of separating yourself from your blogging. One can criticize your blogging without it being a personal attack.

    But I have had my say.

  64. Michael says:


    I don’t know anyone today that would affirm a coupling of church and state that was the government of the 16th century.

    We’d all have a “beef” with it.

    Frankly, the thing I fault Calvin for the most is his refusal to hear the Anabaptists…tradition blinded him to what the rational ones were saying.

  65. Michael says:


    This all comes to a larger point for me (and I’d assume for you as well), that there are no perfect saints and without accountability we all are prone to give in to our lesser passions.

    Leaders need to stay very close to those being led…lest they fall into greater sin than they wish for a legacy.

  66. Alex says:

    Agreed Michael, it’s why our Founding Fathers during the Enlightenment were very aware of Separation of Church and State…as Theocracies throughout history have proved very dangerous for those with a difference of opinion.

  67. E says:

    I think this applies to Wesley and have seen the same dynamic in myself.

    “Oswald Chambers observed that we must allow for a certain measure of temporary fanatacism in people who have discovered a particular ‘new’ truth”

  68. Alex says:

    Again, more support for why I do not believe in a “Transformation Gospel” where personal holiness is the validation for “true salvation”….all the Gurus were and are deeply flawed…all of them committed and commit great sins and evils despite supposedly being “saved”.

    You don’t get transformed in an earthly sense, any transformation is in another dimension…but it certainly isn’t in this one as evidenced by the flawed-ness of Gurus past and present.

  69. Alex says:

    Also, again 🙂 this is support for why I continue to believe that “salvation” cannot be via “correct doctrine” as well…though ecumenicists would argue that as long as you have a semi-correct belief in the basics of Apostles Creed (though if you dig further you’ll find big differences of opinion on the nuance of word meanings and doctrines connected to those individual creeds and confessions) then you can be “saved”.

    All very subjective and nuanced…though every Sect still believes, essentially, in salvation by a combo of their interpretation of “correct doctrine” on some basics as well as “evidence” or “fruit” of generally a holy life free from sin…which is impossible…and when you dig on that one…you find out there is a ton of asterisks and nuance and “context” there as well which ends up neutering the meanings of words and pretty much says you can sin and repent, sin and repent etc and still be officially “saved” and pretty much live in any sort of sin you repeat except being homosexual which is taboo in most Christian circles, then you’re toast.

  70. Alex is on his now famous ‘no one can know anything about anything in Christianity’ rants. But somehow, he has his own lock box of knowledge of what people cannot know.

    Alex knows – but no one else can know.

  71. Alex says:

    No, that is incorrect. I don’t know, not for sure. I am merely pointing out a very intellectually honest set of observations and conclusions filtered through the hermeneutic of Logic and Reason and Critical Thinking.

  72. If that is your story, then you filtered them wrong. There is nothing in Logic and Reason and Critical Thinking the ever says something is not knowable. Perhaps you should try a different discipline.

    Just admit that you are a doubter and don’t attempt to do the thinking for others.

  73. Alex says:

    MLD, you are engaging in your typical sort of adversarial behavior when confronted with a difference of opinion that leads to strife on this blog.

    I won’t engage in kind.

    Your expression about logic and reason above is woefully incorrect…we can know things like facts, data, mathematical equation…we can observe things like gravity, electromagnetism, thermodynamics…however, we cannot fully know all there is to the nuance and intricacies of the Universe.

    Similarly, you yourself have expressed on this blog the “mystery” and unknowing of salvation…then you walk it back by expressing how much you know about it.

  74. Alex says:

    My doubts are in the certainty of your expressions that are born out of your Sect and Guru’s particular “thus sayeth the Lord!” that they constructed through their reading of an ancient text.

    You doubt the very quantifiable and provable mechanics of Logic, Reason and Critical Thinking to observe, categorize and point out inconsistencies and contradictions etc.

  75. Pineapple head says:

    Although they accused Jesus of heresy, the religious leader’s motivation of having him killed was that He threatened their position, power and prestige (Luke 11:45-52).

  76. Pineapple head says:

    Whoops…I meant John 11:45-52.

  77. Alex says:

    Piney, yes, which is essentially what Michael references as “Sedition”…Heresy is the Seditious act that led to the justification to kill Servetus, same as Jesus’s heresy (according to the Jewish Leaders) was also Seditious in that it threatened their power.

  78. Alex says:

    And of course one man’s “Seditious Heretic!” is another man’s “Righteous Revolutionary!” and so goes the ebb and flow of human history.

    Che Guevara to Liberals is a “Freedom Fighter!” and to most others was a communist guerrilla terrorist.

    To many Muslims, OBL was a “Martyr!” and to the rest of the world he was a “Terrorist” and so on and so forth.

  79. brian says:

    Hello Michael hope all is well, great links. I use this program to help read back text to me. I was wondering if it might help your son. It highlights each word as it reads it back and has adjusted speed and voice. There is a paid version with way more features.

  80. brian says:

    “Anyways, the Macro-Premise Michael is making is:

    Christian Gurus of all flavors (even Calvin 🙂 ) were and are very flawed.

    There has to be grace or we’re all toast.”

    I have to agree but the inner brian in me does lean to this side of the equation after so many years.

    “we’re all toast.” 🙂 I am kidding, a little.

  81. Linda Pappas says:

    Hi Alex


    I am totally confident that I do know what I don’t know, that I don’t know what it is that I know, that I don’t know, but do know. 🙂

  82. Alex,
    “Similarly, you yourself have expressed on this blog the “mystery” and unknowing of salvation…then you walk it back by expressing how much you know about it.”

    Well this sheds light on you lack in this area. I can at the same time know something is absolutely true while acknowledging that the components are a mystery. I may not know HOW salvation works or how it gets attached to me, but I know that I have it.

    I know that the bread and the wine are the body and blood of Jesus with 100% certainty (because Jesus said it was) but I have absolutely no knowledge (100% no knowledge) how that happens.

    Every Christian in the world understands what I am saying – unbelievers?, well not so much.

  83. Bob says:

    I have read and criticized Alex in the past for his crass, negative and nasty personality to many here at PP. This latest series of post shows a new and improved Alex, and I’m glad to read it. While his positions do not seem to have changed significantly, I believe his honesty and plain look at the texts reflects the thoughts of more people than many here will admit.

    Much of the dumbing down I see in the churches seems to me as a response to the very same questions about the text and traditions Alex poses. How have I personally settled such questions? At some point I realize I have to either drink the cool-aid, eat the Jello or move on to something else in which fill the hole in my humanity.

    Now when MLD says this:

    “I know that the bread and the wine are the body and blood of Jesus with 100% certainty (because Jesus said it was) but I have absolutely no knowledge (100% no knowledge) how that happens.”

    I immediately hear this, “the Mormons say the same type of stuff.”

    I also believe to interpret the scriptures he is referring to in such a manner is in total opposition to the men, their former teachings and traditions of their community of whom he was speaking to.

    But this blog has gone down this road before and the thread seems to have been about the ability for men to be flawed, hold difficult doctrines and even be wrong in their teachings. Could men have been teaching traditions and doctrines wrong and would God allow it for millenniums? I believe the text itself answers the question in affirmative. Jesus said these words, “you have heard it said, but I say…”

  84. Steve Wright says:

    Could men have been teaching traditions and doctrines wrong and would God allow it for millenniums? I believe the text itself answers the question in affirmative. Jesus said these words, “you have heard it said, but I say…”
    That is no trivial point, Bob. I agree. Well said, sir.

  85. Bob says:

    Often times I hear from Christians when the subject of Torah, and its applicability to today such comments as:

    “Don’t subject me to the Law…”
    “I am free from the Law of sin and death…”
    “That is Judaizing…”
    “I am sinner save by grace and not the Law…”

    And yet it seems many of these same people, especially those with strong ties to a church, denomination or even historic personality, are quickly defining a new Law of acceptable practice, behavior and life for salvation.

    Are we, myself include, rapidly converted and then become the teachers of traditions rather than to encourage people to love God and Jesus , Messiah and Lord?

    It seems to me the only “mysterious or magical “bullet” which allows one to enter the Kingdom of God as a child is what Paul explains in Romans chapter ten. The rest of the Kingdom Life is a walk with Him in all our flaws and ugliness that culminates in a day where we see Him face to face!

    Now can I prove this will happen? Nope and I’m with Alex, it is not logical, and yet I decided to drink the cool-aid and eat the Jello anyway.

  86. josh the baptist says:

    I have no particular affinity for Wesley, though his brother was a fantastic songwriter. Still, it did read like an odd hit piece.

  87. Bob,
    “The rest of the Kingdom Life is a walk with Him in all our flaws and ugliness that culminates in a day where we see Him face to face!”

    Walk with who? To Alex Jesus very well could have been a mirage or the creation of some mindless desert rat. With no “know” where is the follow?

  88. Logic was never a requirement of Christianity and Alex holds Christianity up solely to the Logic test.

    Hey, how logical is it to hold to the Christian story? “There was a man who was dead, who today is alive and rules all creation.” Not one bit of logic there but it is 100% true.

  89. Nonnie says:

    Hey, how logical is it to hold to the Christian story? “There was a man who was dead, who today is alive and rules all creation.” Not one bit of logic there but it is 100% true.”


  90. Bob says:


    “Logic was never a requirement of Christianity and Alex holds Christianity up solely to the Logic test.”

    I agree and disagree.

    Thomas had to see the holes and then John said he wrote his text for people like him, who need to logically hear the testimonies of those who actually saw.

    But at some point you have to drink the cool aid and eat the jello, but like those two it depends on whose testimony you listen to; it might be poisoned.

  91. Thomas was not in doubt – Thomas was in sin, a person denying Christ and not just putting God to the test, but judging God. Jesus had mercy on Thomas – but also told him that blessing came to those who had not seen, which may have left Thomas in some lesser position.

    I don’t have time to look up the John passage but I don’t think he wrote that passage so people would have more ‘logic’ but that they would have more knowledge.

  92. Nonnie says:

    Bob, Even when Thomas saw the wounds in Jesus’ hand and side, that was still “illogical,” as he had just seen him die on the cross a few days before. There is no logic in that.

    There is a testimony, a witness, but it does not make sense in our everyday logical way of thinking.

  93. Michael says:


    I didn’t think it was a hit piece at all, the fellow has written a book on the subject and he has a reputation as being an able historian.

    I probably would have posted the link anyway, but it seemed especially appropriate in light of all the discussions here lately about the law and Gospel and sanctification.

    Wesley was a proponent of Christian perfection and his writings and preaching have been enormously influential on the subject of holiness.
    Yet, he was not above acting like a common scoundrel and in his mid sixties refers to himself as a man who doesn’t love God…an “honest heathen”.

    I would say that a preacher who does not love God, nor experiences any move of the Spirit in his life and keeps preaching is less than honest.

    This is a fascinating subject to me and one of no little historical import.

    Having said all that, whatever Wesley taught that was true is still true despite his personal spiritual state and I’m quite sure he got home safely.

  94. Steve Wright says:

    Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

  95. Steve Wright says:

    There also is a wonderful quote of Wesley’s about whether he would “see” Whitefield in heaven. He was asked that, and answered, no. Then explained to the effect that Whitefield would have such honor and be seated so near the throne that the brightness of the glory of the Lord would hinder the vision of those like Wesley in the back of the room.

  96. Michael says:

    Quite often, those of us from the Reformed traditions are told that perceived character flaws in Calvin and Luther negate the value of their theological work.

    This sort of historical work simply levels the playing field so we can just deal with the theology,not the theologians.

  97. Bob says:


    The logic is, “I have to see it for myself! I saw him die,” assuming he was actually there at the crucifixion. His action is very logical and it is logical to want to have evidence and if you’ve read Alex’s stuff over the years he wants evidence.

    We are not told to shut down our brains and just drink the cool-aid. God gave us the ability to reason for a reason. But, as I said, at some point we have to drink the cool-aid and logically we should choose the cup with out the poison. Mormons use this phrase, “burning in the bosom” and it comes from this quote:

    ““But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right. But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me.” (D&C 9:8-9)”

    If you read this it uses really bad “logic” and sometimes I think we ask Christians to do the same.

  98. Steve Wright says:

    Faith…the evidence of things not seen.


  99. Bob says:


    “…are told that perceived character flaws…negate the value of their theological work.”

    I think this statement is applied to more than those you mention.

    Personally I find value in understanding God better by looking at how others might understand the same material. The problem I see arises is when people become followers, to the point of absurdity, in people and the ideas they teach rather than in the One who created all men.

    Remember the text (James) tells us that Elijah was just a man like all of us (same nature). What made his prayers so special and why did God take him up? In the same vain, why was Moses buried in an unknown location? Maybe we might worship the messenger over the message?

    I hold precious what a friend of mine said to me once, “If only we read the Bible as often as we read books about the Bible.”

    Just some thoughts this morning. And I do found and find great value in both Calvin and Luther’s teachings.

  100. Michael says:

    I find nothing logical about the Christian faith.
    I find it full of paradox, tension, and mystery.
    I’m really comfortable with that, because we’re talking about God.
    God should, by nature, be above my understanding of Him.

    Intellect and logic are ladders too short to reach heaven…only faith can ascend to the throne.

  101. Nonnie says:

    Michael’s 101 Yes….He and MLD nailed it. Tis a mystery, but He allows us to see through a glass darkly.

  102. Bob says:


    I think you are arguing against a non-argument.

    I stated, and will state again, one has to “drink the cool aid and eat the jello” to become a Christian. If you didn’t get the references to poisoned drink and jello then you missed the argument.

    All cults of all religions and faith say the same things about faith, but what makes the cup and bread of this One the correct one? MLD says his is because he read it, while Mormons say theirs is because they have this burning (I think it was a bad brisket myself).

    There has to be a way for truth and it has to be universal beyond all, ages, belief systems, location, cultures and such. But eventually to be a Christian one has to drink the cup of death and resurrection on just one Man. Now there is logic in all of it, whether Alex or you see it, and He is the living water which hydrates that cool aid.

    OK weird.

  103. Steve Wright says:

    Two different discussions are taking place. I refer to the historical acts that took place in which God reconciled the world to Himself. I also refer to the Biblical explanation of those facts. Christianity is not a mythology. It is a religion rooted in history. People, date, places. (i.e. it is ludicrous to speak of Zeus’ birthdate – even to those who believed in Zeus)

    Now, when the Bible tells us that the blood of Jesus is cleansing us (24/7) from all sin moment by moment, then sure…that is a mystery.

    However, that is not usually the context of the faith discussion.

  104. Bob says:

    You do know there is the possibility those of us who proclaim His death until He returns could just be fooling ourselves and have faith in a figment of an imagination. What makes that any different than what is said about other faiths? What makes Christianity so real to many like myself?

    I’ve been asked that many a time BTW.

    If we’re wrong then what? Paul I believe addressed that very subject.

  105. Deuteronomy 29:29 – “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.”

    What has been revealed to us in knowable 100% – otherwise we would not be able to “follow all the words of the law.” We know what we know 100% and it is clear.

    I think what people talk about are the things that have not been revealed to us, that we are to have no knowledge of and we get frustrated wanting to know.

    Those things yes, we cannot know. Stick to what you can know.

  106. Bob says:


    I believe I have attempted to address both. Probably not very well.

    Got to go and work.

    Thanks for the mental stimulation.

  107. Steve Wright says:

    Short basic answer…the same reason I believe we really landed on the moon and the whole thing was not staged in a warehouse in Houston.

    The same reason I DON’T believe Joseph Smith found some golden plates.

    Either Jesus rose from the dead or He did not. The question is no different than asking if Washington was the first US President. (Other than the act of rising from the dead being a miracle…but the faith in the history is the same)

    If He did rise, then we would be wise to listen to what He said – as recorded by the eyewitnesses to it all.

  108. Bob says:


    “Those things yes, we cannot know. Stick to what you can know.”

    So what do you know is a fact?

    Many men over the ages have spent their entire lives attempting, with some success, to prove the text is valid and historical. But, when it comes to the supernatural stuff it gets difficult and one has to revert to the type and intent of the writers over their contemporaries to determine truth.

    My favorite flavors range from cherry to lemon-lime.

    Have a great day!

  109. Bob says:

    One more:


    The very reason why John states in chapter 20 why he wrote the text.

    Circular discussion and we are in full agreement!

  110. Joe says:

    Wesley seems to be a very humble servant of God. And a man with w/ colossal intellect as well. The amazing revivals that happened under his preaching with fruit that followed is enormous. Truly a complex and introspective man. Relative to his odd letter he wrote to charles. It seems here that his season of dispair did break in the last days of his life.

  111. Alex says:

    Michael said, “I find nothing logical about the Christian faith.
    I find it full of paradox, tension, and mystery.
    I’m really comfortable with that, because we’re talking about God.
    God should, by nature, be above my understanding of Him.

    Intellect and logic are ladders too short to reach heaven…only faith can ascend to the throne.”

    That is very intellectually honest IMO and well stated.

  112. Joe says:


  113. Alex says:

    It doesn’t make sense to my logical/reasonable side, but there is an innate sense of spirituality in my inner-being that I cannot deny.

    My inner-man is 2 parts Spock and 1 part Pentecostal LOL.

    May God have mercy 🙂

  114. brian says:

    My frustration in all this, we long for absolutes in our theology and our world view, but we operate in any practical application in day to day life on almost every single level in probabilities. Which give us a far better predictor that some aspect of revelation “knowledge” which I find rather wanted in application being I am not an eternal being, and frankly dont want to be given my current manifestation. Pretty much every practical application of knowledge we have today is predicated on probabilities of some type and it is evidential not revelatory.

  115. Neo says:

    Kierkegaard stated faith a a leap into absurdity but one that needs to be taken, nonetheless. I am in agreement with him.

  116. Neo says:

    Kierkegaard stated faith is a into absurdity but one that needs to be taken, nonetheless. I am in agreement with him.

  117. brian says:

    “May God have mercy ” I long for this but always considered it on some type of level as being an unreasonable expectation. In my real world experience I have found that to be an accurate understanding.

  118. Bob says:


    Can you the close the gap and drink the cool aid that Jesus is born of a virgin, lived the perfect human life, was killed by men, rose again and now sits at the right hand of God?

    That is the question of Christianity, the leap of faith, the difference between it and all those other illogical and absurd types who claim their faith and spirituality is authentic.

    The water isn’t poisened.

    BTW lots of people see and believe in Jesus as a Messiah figure, but not the one mentioned above

  119. Bob says:


    You and I both know the answer is simply yes or no. There are no long conversations, qualifications, we aren’t told to do some particular act or literally drink something. It’s just a simple act and for some reason, like that guy named Abraham, comes at a particular point in life.

    It always comes down to a one syllable word.

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